Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States and in Colorado. To address this enormous toll, the American Lung Association calls for the following actions to be taken by Colorado's elected officials:
- Enhance Colorado's smokefree laws to include electronic smoking devices;
- Strengthen state and local laws around youth access to tobacco products; and
- Protect and increase funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
During the 2018 legislative session, the Colorado Tobacco Free Alliance successfully defeated two bills that would have undermined tobacco control efforts in the state. The first one would have extended a tax credit for out-of-state tobacco sales with the revenue to pay for it being diverted from tobacco tax revenues used to support Colorado's tobacco control program and other important programs. A second bill would have redefined large and premium cigars which would affect excise taxes collected from the products.
Thanks to a veto from Governor Hickenlooper, the Colorado Tobacco Free Alliance and Lung Association were also able to fight off an attempt to undermine state smokefree laws through the creation of marijuana consumption establishments where marijuana use through e-cigarettes could have occurred. The Alliance hopes to solve this problem permanently in 2019 by getting e-cigarettes added to the state smokefree law.
Local communities continue to lead the way in Colorado. In 2018, Denver International Airport officially became smokefree as its last remaining smoking lounge closed due to a previously passed city ordinance. Additionally, Avon, Basalt, and Carbondale all raised the sale age for tobacco products to 21. In addition to raising the sales age, Avon voters approved a ballot measure establishing a $3.00 per pack local cigarette tax and Basalt voters passed a ballot measure raising the cigarette tax by $2.00 per pack and adding a 40 percent tax on other tobacco products. The additional revenue generated by the new taxes will fund tobacco-related education and tobacco-related health issues.
In 2019, the American Lung Association in Colorado will continue its work with partners to support state and local strengthening of smokefree laws, and reduce tobacco use through strategies like raising the sales age for tobacco to 21